National Geographic – Everest 50 Years on the Mountain (2003)

Ever since I read the fascinating book “Into Thin Air” by Jon Krakauer, I have maintained an interest in Mt. Everest. I read several more books on the subject (and the tragedy that Krakauer wrote of). I also saw a few documentaries and a terrible “made-for-TV” movie on the tragedy. I saw the I-Max movie and still, I always looked forward reading or watching anything else I could find.

“Everest-50 Years on the Mountain” is as good a visual presentation as any I’ve seen (the I-Max movie aside). It tells of the attempt by the sons of Tenzing Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary to climb Mt. Everest together. I didn’t really find their story all that compelling but it was as good an excuse as any other to put this National Geographic special together. What I did enjoy was the background information, especially about the Sherpas, and how they were able to include a lot of historical film into the story.

Most of all, I enjoyed the film of the mountain and the climb that was documented. The photography was fantastic as well as instructive. It helped me retrace the steps that Krakauer and company took in “Into Thin Air” by showing what he wrote of. The climb to the Hillary Step was very instructive by showing just how much exertion and rest was required to take three or four steps.

The crowds that Krakauer commented on were there as well as the bored millionaire looking for something different to do. However, we were not burdened by having to follow the millionaire, we were able to focus on a group of men who made the story all the more interesting. We saw them at their best and sometimes at their not so best.

I have looked more and more these days for the sort of National Gepgraphic specials that I used to covet seeing when I was growing up. The Society has expanded more into history these days (or so I judge from the available DVD’s on Amazon.com). Maybe that’s because the wilderness has been tamed too much to compell us like it used to. However, I found “National Geographic – Everest 50 Years on the Mountain” to be the quality of special that I was looking for. I’ll be watching this one again and again.

A DVD review by Randy Keehn (Williston, ND United States), courtesy of Amazon.com

Leave a Reply